Automate text messages with Serenitext

Serenitext is a service that sends you text messages at random times throughout the day. You can write your own messages or choose them from a list, then Serenitext delivers them to your cell phone or email address.

I really like this service. It’s very easy to set up and use, and it works well. I especially like the complete randomness of both which message I receive and what time it arrives. That surprise element seems to be really effective in retaining my interest, and is one of the things it does better than other message scheduling systems I’ve tried like Backpack.

There’s also a nice social dimension to the site. You can choose to share any message you write to the “Community List” so others are able to use that message too. I picked a few messages from the Community List to get started, and they gave me good ideas for writing messages of my own.

How to get started

This video does a good job of describing how to set up the service:

You can configure the number of messages you want to receive every day, and also the earliest and latest times you want them to arrive. You’re also able to pause delivery any time from the website control panel.

One note of caution: be sure to be aware of the terms of your data plan for text messages and set the message frequency accordingly, so you don’t get surprised by extra charges. If you prefer, you can choose to receive the messages via email instead.

I set up my Serenitext account to send only one message per day because I pay for every text message on my phone. I think that might be about the right frequency anyway, because it doesn’t work very well for an ad campaign like this to get too “noisy”. Right now one a day is a sweet spot for me.

Evaluation

So far I really like receiving these messages. I feel a happy little burst of curiosity when I see one arrive, because I wonder which one it’s going to be. Since they’re all about thoughts I want to reinforce, they feel welcome, and whenever possible I pause for a few moments to mentally let it in.

It’s very easy to add, delete and edit your messages on an ongoing basis. When I write a new ad slogan or read a short piece of inspirational text, I login to the Serenitext control panel and add it to my message list. Or if I receive a message that I don’t feel an unconditional positive response to, I just go to the website and change it.

The website does have a couple of cosmetic irritations. It presents a markedly religious flavor in many of the examples, and the Community List contains far too many spelling errors. However both of these are easy to ignore since you can write your own messages. The underlying service is neutral, straightforward, and technically solid. It works exactly as advertised.

More importantly, I do find these messages influencing my behavior. I’ve already noticed myself recalling some of them at behavioral decision points and then making better choices.

Bottom line: Serenitext is a really convenient way to advertise to yourself. If you can throw a little money at personal marketing to make it easy, Serenitext should probably be on your short list of tools to consider. They offer a free 7 day trial for you to check it out.

(Full disclosure: Take Back Your Brain! has an affiliate arrangement with Serenitext, so if you sign up for a paid account when the 7 day trial is over I will receive a few dollars from your first month’s fee. That being said, I would not ever recommend a service unless I try it first and really believe there’s value in it for you. I think Serenitext is a great tool.)

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4 Comments

  1. Susan
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Very nice article. I have been using serenitext for several months now and I agree with most of your comments. I don’t get the feeling that it has too much of a religious flavor. It feels very broad to me. The randomness is probably my favorite part. Very helpful article. Thank you.

  2. Clayton
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I think it would be… well, at least MORE ethical if you clearly stated that you are registered as an affiliate and that you receive something for each click.

    http://www.serenitext.com/partner.php?af=337

    I think most readers would still trust your advice, because I like your blog and the topics. But you should be upfront on these things for the sake of those without too much time on their hands (like me.)

  3. Lynn
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    OK. I included the disclaimer at the bottom of the article at first, then removed it because I wondered if anyone cared. Thanks for letting me know it matters.

  4. Clayton
    Posted February 20, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Cool!

    Though, like most commenters on most blogs, I just wanted to look smart. Woo!

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